Q4 Media M&A Up, Digital Dominates Deals

Media/marketing merger and acquisition deals and dollar volume rose 33% and 40%, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2014 versus the same time period the year before. Digital media transactions were a dominant player.

New York-based media and marketing investment banker Petsky Prunier says fourth-quarter media and marketing deals numbered 736, up from 553 a year ago. Deal dollar volume totaled $26.5 billion versus $19.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Digital media/commerce category was the most active, inking $11.8 billion in deals, accounting for 38% of all media/marketing transaction value. About a third of that dollar volume — $4.3 billion — came from mobile content/apps investments.

Agencies/marketing services deals were next during the last three months of 2014, totaling $4.995 billion in dollar volume, followed by digital advertising at $3.691 billion; traditional media at $3.035 billion; and marketing technology at $3.028 billion.



The largest deal in the quarter was Publicis' pending acquisition of Sapient for $3.7 billion.

For the entire year, Petsky Prunier tracked 2,904 transactions, of which 1,821 were reported for a total of $126.1 billion.

While the number of transactions was down for digital media/commerce in 2014 — 37% to 1,073 deals — dollar volume was up 67% to $48.6 billion. Digital advertising also lost ground — 28% in the number of deals to 438  with dollar deal volume up 235% to $23.8 billion.

Agency/marketing services deals were off 43% to 252 transactions with volume 234% higher, $15.6 billion. Marketing technology deals were down 46% to 979 and deal volume off 64% to $19.4 billion; and the number of traditional media deals dropped 72% to 162 deals, with deal dollar volume off 60% to $18.5 billion.

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